The economics of Arundo donax-a systematic literature review.
Arundo donax (giant reed) is an herbaceous, perennial and non-food crop producing dry biomass with relatively high yields in many regions and under different climates. Although there exists a large amount of literature on A. donax, the economic aspects are somehow neglected or are very much limited in most papers. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyze the economics of A. donax by applying a systematic literature review of the field. Our sample consists of 68 relevant studies out of the 6009 identified, classified into four groups: Bioenergy, agronomy, invasiveness and phytoremediation. Most papers were focusing on Italy and on the Mediterranean region and were written on the bioenergy aspect. Most studies suggest that A. donax has a relatively high energy balance and yields, high investment but low maintenance costs and high potentials for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. However, a certain section of the literature, mainly based on US experience, shows that giant reed should be produced with care due to its invasiveness hazard. On the whole, A. donax was found to have high economic potentials for biomass production in marginal as well as disadvantageous lands operated by small farmers in the Mediterranean region.